San Marino High boys' tennis leads local contingent
Tennis: Five schools qualify to Thursday's Individual Tournament, but only Titans advance.
Among San Marino High, La Salle, Pasadena Armenian General Benevolent Union, Pasadena Poly and Maranatha, only CIF Southern Section Division II champion San Marino advanced a representative past the first day as two Titans doubles teams and one singles players qualified to the following week’s individual action.
“It was a pretty good day and I’m very excited,” said Titans Coach Melwin Pereira, whose squad participated in Thursday’s opening round at Whittier Narrows. “We played pretty well and we almost got everyone to the next round.”
On the doubles circuit, the reigning All-Area Doubles Team of the Year, Robert Carter and Daniel Gealer, only needed two wins to advance.
The pair received a first-round bye and then needed little time to topple South Torrance’s No. 1 entry of Brandon Chai and Joseph Choi, 6-0, 6-1. That victory preceded a 6-2, 6-1 win over Long Beach Poly’s top squad of Cameron Mason and Matt Garner, 6-2, 6-1.
Carter and Gealer will be joined in the next round by teammates Derek Chen and Nicholas Splichal, the Rio Hondo League’s No. 2 seed, who proved a pleasant surprise Thursday.
Chen and Splichal earned a first-round bye before knocking off Paramount’s No. 2 seed of Luscious Garibay and Brendan Aparicio, 6-0, 6-0.
Then in San Marino’s lone upset, Chen and Splichal defeated Palos Verdes Peninsula’s No. 1 seed of Tony Del Valle and Kent Muki, 6-4, 6-3.
“That was a great win for those guys, I’m so proud of them,” Pereira said of Chen and Splichal. “That’s a good team they beat.”
Rio Hondo League singles champion James Wade earned his way into the next round by going 2-0 on Thursday.
After receiving a bye, Wade topped Suburban League runner-up Ronak Hedge of Cerritos High, 6-0, 6-0. That victory was followed by a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Bay League No. 2 player Brandon Holt, son of former professional tennis standout Tracy Austin, in the day’s third and final round.
The only setback was to Titans freshman Ryan Cheng, who went down in the third round.
Cheng was the lone Titan without the benefit of a bye, but opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over El Monte’s top singles player, Ehinh Do, and then came back with a 6-1, 6-1 victory versus Chino’s top player, Carlos Villalobos.
Cheng’s push to the next round was halted, though, by Harvard-Westlake ace Michael Genender, 6-1, 6-2.
The rest of the Pasadena area’s competitors saw their seasons conclude.
Prep League co-champion Pasadena Poly sent two entrants in sophomore singles player Henry La Soya and the duo of sophomore Andrew Trojan and junior Sachin Puri.
All three headed to the University of Redlands and advanced past the first round in going 1-1.
La Soya began with a victory over Lancaster High’s David Garcia, 6-2, 6-1 before running into a buzz saw in the second round in the form of Alta Loma’s Victor Brown.